bandidos
The Bandidos gang have members in 22 countries across the worldGetty

At least 170 members have been charged over the mass shooting between rival motorbike gangs in a Texas restaurant that left nine dead and 18 injured.

Fighting broke out between the infamous Bandidos and Cossacks gangs at the Twin Peaks restaurant before spilling out onto the car park.

The suspects – thought to come from five bike gangs – had to be held in a convention centre rather then swamp a local jail before they were charged with engaging in organised crime linked to capital murder, which carries the death penalty.

They have been released on bail, which was each set at £640,000 ($1 million). Twenty-two others were released without charge. The dead are reported to be eight members of the Cossacks gang and one Bandidos member.

Around 100 guns, knives and other weapons were also recovered from the scene of the bloodbath.

The Bandidos had arranged to meet at the "breastaurant" (know for its bikini clad women) with other motorbike clubs to discuss normal biker issues. The Cossacks, however, were not invited, according to the New York Times.

"We have been doing this for 18 years, and we never had a problem," said Gimmi Jimmy, national ambassador for the Bandidos and state chairman for the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents. "We discuss things like biker rights, but no individual club business is talked about."

The rivalry between the Bandidos and Cossacks dates back to 2013. The Bandidos believe Texas is their state and there is no place for smaller clubs like the Cossacks.

Texas: 190 detained in biker gang gun battleIBTimes UK

The spark for the disturbance remains unclear but some reports say it started in the restaurant's bathroom.

Waco police sergeant Patrick Swanton, however, said it was caused by a parking dispute and was "the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in".

Don Charles Davis, who writes the biker blog "The Aging Rebel," said the Waco episode was "a challenge to the Bandidos' pre-eminence" by smaller organisations, like the Cossacks.

"A lot of the newer members are veterans, and they want to prove their independence and equality," he said. "It's a generational thing that is reshaping the culture."

Curtis Jack Lewis, president of the Abilene, Texas branch of the Bandidos, was arrested in November 2013 on suspicion of stabbing two members of the Cossacks outside a restaurant.

The Bandidos is one of the most prominent biker gangs in the world with 2,500 members in 14 countries.